Leave some breathing room: It can be tempting to squeeze as
large of a tire as your frame and fork will allow, but if you do any
wet-weather riding, leave some room for dirt to build up on the
frame. Also, every bike will flex a bit during out-of-the-saddle
efforts. If the tire sits very close to the frame, you will most likely
end up wasting some of your hard pedaling effort as the tire rubs
on the chainstay.
Straight shooter: Make sure your wheels are installed correctly in
the dropouts. We’ve seen many problems arise with improperly
installed wheels on the trail after fixing a flat tire. A wheel crooked
in the dropouts can cause the tire to rub on the frame and the
rotor to rub on the brake pads. Also, check your wheels occasionally to make sure they are true (straight and tensioned properly). A wobbling wheel can rub ever so slightly on the frame, damaging the bike while making you work harder to overcome the
Don’t fight your bike: Regardless of the extra friction an improperly adjusted brake caliper can cause, the sound alone of a rubbing
disc brake can be enough to drive you crazy. The fix is easy too.
Simply loosen your brake-caliper bolts, pull the brake lever, and
tighten the bolts again starting with the one closest to where the
brake hose enters the caliper. Spin the wheel and check your work.
Smooth to the touch: After cycles of getting dirty and being
washed off again, even small parts such as your brake-lever pivot
can get sticky. A drop of lube can go a long way to smoother
Smooth sailing: Direct contact with water, whether from splashing through wet sections of trail or the following washing with the
hose, can take a toll on hub bearings. Pull the wheels off the bike
and feel the bearings for drag or friction. If they are cartridge
bearings, it’s time to replace them. If the hub uses a loose-ball
bearing setup, simply pull it apart, clean it and regrease them.
The driving force: Freehub bodies can begin to drag, and in the
worst cases can push the chain off the chainrings as the freehub
refuses to coast. Thankfully, as with many bicycle components,
pulling the freehub off the wheel and cleaning and re-lubing it
can be all the difference.